Trump, Trailing Biden in Cash, Relies on Big Donors to Try to Catch Up

Former President Donald J. Trump leaned heavily on major Republican donors in March as his campaign and the Republican Party sought to close the financial gap separating him from President Biden, new federal filings showed on Monday.

For much of the race, Mr. Trump has relied on small donors — in particular, those giving less than $200 online — to sustain his campaign. Most big donors steered clear.

But in recent weeks, as Mr. Trump finished trouncing his primary opponents and Mr. Biden and the Democrats gathered fund-raising steam, these donors have opened their checkbooks to the former president.

In the last two weeks of March alone, one committee backing Mr. Trump raised nearly $18 million, nearly all from six-figure contributions. Mr. Trump and the Republican Party finished the month with $93 million on hand between all their committees, his campaign has said, having raised more than $65 million in March.

Still, Republicans are lagging behind. In the first three months of the year, Mr. Biden and the Democratic Party together raised more than $187 million, his campaign has said, including $90 million in March, ending the month with $192 million on hand.

Mr. Trump’s campaign has not provided a full account of its first-quarter fund-raising. The two committees that filed on Monday reported raising nearly $90 million combined since January, but that does not include money raised directly by the campaign or the Republican National Committee.

The filings on Monday with the Federal Election Commission were the first detailed look this year at the joint fund-raising committees through which Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden have raised the majority of their money. These committees, some of which can raise more than $800,000 from individual donors in concert with the candidates’ parties, transfer funds to the campaigns themselves and also build out national campaign operations.

(The campaigns and parties themselves have been filing monthly reports, which do not include details on the individual donors.)

Biden Victory Fund, the president’s main joint fund-raising committee with the party reported raising $121.3 million in the first three months of the year.

Top donors included Seth MacFarlane, the creator of “Family Guy”; the billionaire entrepreneur Reid Hoffman; and the lawyer George Conway, a vocal Trump critic who until last year was married to Kellyanne Conway, a top Trump adviser.

The reporting period included Mr. Biden’s March 28 fund-raiser at Radio City Music Hall, which campaign aides said brought in $25 million.

Trump 47 Committee Inc. — Mr. Trump’s new joint fund-raising committee with the Republican National Committee — was formally set up with the F.E.C. on Jan. 31. It reported raising $23.6 million in the quarter, including $17.8 million in the second half of March alone, largely from six-figure contributions.

Those gifts included $814,399 dated March 25 from Robert Mercer, the hedge fund billionaire who was a vital supporter of Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign but was less engaged with his 2020 run. Mr. Trump had been courting Mr. Mercer and other donors in recent weeks.

Mr. Trump’s joint fund-raising agreement with the R.N.C. directs a portion of the contributions to Trump 47 Committee Inc. to a political action committee that has been paying his costly legal bills. The first $6,600 given goes to Mr. Trump’s campaign, and the next $5,000 goes to his Save America PAC, which last year spent more than $50 million on his legal expenses. The R.N.C. and state parties receive the remaining amount.

Other top-dollar donors to Trump 47 included Roger William Norman, a Nevada real-estate developer who gave nearly half a million dollars last year to a super PAC backing Mr. Trump, and Robert T. Bigelow, the Las Vegas aerospace mogul, who gave $5 million to the Trump super PAC in February.

Jeffrey C. Sprecher, the chief executive of Intercontinental Exchange, which owns the New York Stock Exchange, also gave more than $800,000, as did his wife, Kelly Loeffler, who briefly served as a Republican senator from Georgia.

Joe Ricketts, the chairman of TD Ameritrade, also gave the maximum amount. Other major donors included Linda McMahon, the former pro-wrestling entrepreneur; Phil Ruffin, the casino magnate; and Woody Johnson, the owner of the New York Jets. All three also gave at least $1 million to the pro-Trump super PAC last year.

Mr. Trump’s Save America joint fund-raising committee — which had served as his main fund-raising vehicle during the primary campaign — raised $65.8 million in the first quarter of 2024, and ended March with $13.7 million on hand.

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